tv Senate Hearing Examines Problem of Visa Overstays CSPAN July 12, 2017 2:41pm-4:17pm EDT
>> assuming that i can do it legally and appropriately, absolutely. i'm very committed to supporting director mueller in the special counsel investigation in whatever way is appropriate for me to do that. i've worked closely with director mueller in my past government service. i view him as the consummate straight shooter and somebody i have enormous respect for. and i would be pleased to do what i can to support him in his mission. >> what i'm asking is if you learn about any machinations to tamper with that that you let this committee know. >> understood. >> thank you. if you want to say more, you may. >> senator, any time talking with this committee i would consult with the appropriate officials to make sure i'm not jeopardizing an investigation or anything like that, but i would consider an effort to tamper with director mueller's investigation -- thank all of our witnesses for being with us here today.
we're eager to hear your contribution to the subject of our concerns, which is visa overstays. most of the time when we talk about the flaws of our immigration system we talk about border security as being the paramount concern. and for me it is, obviously coming from texas with a 1,200-mile common border and notwithstanding the great work being done by the border patrol. it still remains a vulnerability and we are working hard to come up with some proposals that will help address that. but the one vulnerability that seems to be overlooked is visa overstays, people who enter our country legally and then who overstay their visa and simply melt into the great american landscape. and as i think about it, while i understand the desire of people coming from other countries perhaps to emigrate to the united states because of
economic or security conditions, it is almost more offensive to me that people come in to our country legally and in spite of the courtesy that we demonstrate to them by allowing them to come in temporarily, they exploit that and take advantage of it and violate our immigration laws. there are a number of reasons why people stay beyond the period of their visa. they may have family in the united states or seeking a better life and economic opportunity. some are seeking refuge or asylum, and others may in fact seek to be just doing us harm. whatever the reason we have to take steps to stem the tide of visa overstays and restore some order out of chaos when it comes to this flaw in our immigration system. border security as i indicated is more than just admitting people to united states. it starts with identifying the
right people before they leave their home country to come to the united states knowing once they are here and ensuring that they depart when their terms of their visa expires. i was pleased, continue to be pleased by the news of the apprehensions along the southern border, while we have this strange idea that the fewer people that are detained is actually a sign of success, we i guess have a common belief that that represents fewer people trying to make it across. and thus the only indicator we really have. but to me it's some indication that deterrence actually works. when the message is sent that either people are going to be detained at the border when they come across or otherwise by law enforcement if they commit crimes in our country, it's clear to me that the president's executive orders and the enforcement policies of the department of homeland security and justice are having an impact in deterrence alone.
but we haven't seen the same drop in visa overstays. most overstays have banked on the fact that no one would even be looking for them because of lax enforcement and no real network or system to comprehensively identify people who overstay their visa and invite them to return home after their period of their visa expires. so they could just stay in the united states until they become eligible for some sort of benefit merely through the passage of time. the two dhs overstay reports for 2015 and 2016 reveal just how big the problem is. in 2016 alone more than 700,000 aliens stayed in the united states past their authorized time, 700,000. and while that may seem like a relatively small number compared to the millions of foreign nationals who come to the united states every year, it's still a significant number. a magnitude of the problem
cannot be overstated. those who come to the united states on legal visas but are intent to do harm count on the fact that they can easily overstay their visas and blend into the fabric of american society. let's not forget that one of the worst terrorist attacks on u.s. soil, 9/11, was carried out by 19 hijackers, five of whom were visa overstays. prior administrations have not made visa overstay enforcement a priority or devote the necessary resources to get the job done. president trump, secretary kelly and attorney general sessions have made it clear though that visa overstay enforcement will be a priority. and for me that is welcome news. but it doesn't end there. congress has a job to do as well. we need to eliminate some of the incentives for people to overstay. this includes making it clear in the law that if you deliberately overstay your visa, you won't be eligible for any immigration benefit in the future, ever.
finally, we need to have a complete biometric exit program in place. this is something we've been talking about the entire time i've been here in the senate through the u.s. visit program, no effective way to date of determining when people exit especially if they leave through land ports of entry. but i'm hoping that technology will provide us additional tools to do that. but we need an effective biometric exit program in place no matter how people come and go, whether by air, sea or land ports of entry. so i hope to hear today about the progress i.c.e. and cbp have made in streamlining access to systems that better track visa overstays. with that, let me turn to the ranking member, senator durbin, for any opening comments he might have. >> thanks, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing. experts estimate that more than 40% of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country overstayed their visas.
they came to the united states for a variety of reasons with visas to visit, to go to school, to work with the understanding they would stay for a time certain. and they overstayed. one of those i met whose name was theresa lee. she came here on a visitor's visa, overstayed and became the first dreamer, the person who inspired me to put in the dream act 16 years ago. one little thing i would add, theresa was 2 years old when she was brought in on a visitor's visa. she didn't realize until much later in life that her mom didn't file the right papers and that she was here illegally. so there are some who are culpable, i'm sure, and have made a decision they're going to overstay their visas and see what happens. there are many though who may be innocent. and as we categorize people, let's at least be mindful of the fact that there are different people in different circumstances. recently for the second year in a row the department of homeland security released a report estimating the number of visa overstays in the previous year.
this report found that in fiscal year 2016, last year, more than 739,000 people overstayed their visas in the united states. what this tells us is that an obsession with building a big, beautiful wall won't come close to solving our immigration challenges. it doesn't even address the issue of overstays. even if we build a wall across the entire southern border, cost of $70 billion or whatever, hundreds of thousands of people who come to our country legally would still be overstaying their visas. we can't talk about visa overstays without considering the reality of theresa lee, who i mentioned earlier, and many others who came here years ago, have made a life, started a family, become pillars in the community, all of those should not be treated the same as those who made a conscious effort to deceive the federal government. it's clear we can't fix our broken immigration system on a piecemeal basis. so a few years ago a group of us got together, four democrats, four republican senators,
so-called gang of eight. we sat down and for six months decided to write a comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform bill. we sent it to the floor of the senate after going through thro lengthy hearings in the senate judiciary committee, entertaining hundreds of amendments, many of them from our current attorney general and then we brought it to the floor for a vote and it passed, 68-32, comprehensive immigration reform in 2013. we were pretty proud of ourselves. unfortunately, many republicans didn't support it. and the republican leadership in the house of representatives refused to even consider it when we sent it over there. let me tell you what our bill did, would have done when it came to visa overstays. we required electronic tracking of visa overstays. and it wasn't an unfunded mandate with no teeth. the bill would have appropriated millions of dollars to implement electronic tracking of visas. at the insistence of my republican colleagues in the gang of eight.
we would have required an integrated electronic exit system to be in use at every international air and seaport in the country, before undocumented immigrants could obtain lawful permanent residence under the bill. this trigger would have forced those who support a path to citizenship to insure that electronic tracking of overstays actually came to pass. we weren't soft on this issue. we were tough and we put money behind our toughness. critically, our bill also would have addressed other components of the broken immigration system. dedicating billions of dollars to sprengten border security, including funding for additional technology, fencing and border patrol agents. reducing the job magnet for undocumented immigrants by requiring employers to verify the immigration status of workers and create new avenues for legal immigration. provide a tough but fair path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who do not pose a threat to our nation and would go to the back of the line. only a comprehensive plan like this can secure our border and
our nation, and really remain true to our heritage as a nation of immigrants. that's why i'm treaddy to work again on a bipartisan basis to fix this broken immigration system and it ought to start in this subcommittee. it is refreshing that at least today we're talking about a real problem, instead of obsessing about vulnerable refugee who is come to the united states, the most carefully vetted and investigated visitors of all those who come to our shores. >> i strongly support legislation, the provided up to $1 billion for dhs, by increasing fees for h 1 b visas, fees increased especially on outsourcing companies that take jobs out of america this provision was based on bipartisan legislation senator grassley and i co-sponsored for years. but there's much more that congress and the administration can do. consider the visa waiver program. think about that. we have 38 nations, that we allow to send their visitors to the united states.
without a visa. according to the recent dhs report and fiscal year 2016, more than 147,000 travelers who entered our country using the visa waiver program overstayed as well. overstayed. 20 million people from these 38 nations traveled to america every year under the visa waiver program. that's a third of all the visitors to the united states. these people come in without a visa, to the united states, at american airports without undergoing any biometric checks or consular interview s zacharis mouse mouse moussaoui tried to enter the u.s. held a passport from a visa waiver country. each of them could have traveled to the united states without a visa. if we're concerned about
protecting america's security, why don't we strengthen the visa waiver program that accounts as i said earlier for 20 million people coming to this country each year. how about strengthening this program by requiring biometric checks of travelers before they reach america. so we know who they are before they get on the airplane? and congress should also close the loophole. listen to this. the loophole that lets people who enter the united states through the visa waiver program to buy guns, here in this country, even assault weapons, even if they're on the fbi terrorist watchlist. think about that for a second. does that make any sense? in closing, let me say it continues to amaze me that we haven't had a single hearing on this immigration subcommittee on president trump's travel bans and changes to our immigration system. in just his first week as president, mr. trump signed multiple immigration executive orders, that have roiled our nation, so he could keep his campaign promise, of launching
mass deportations and banning muslims from our country. the supreme court of the united states has found the time to consider the president's travel ban, this subcommittee has not. during the previous administration, the republican majority conducted sustained, multiple oversight hearings of the executive branch immigration policies of president obama. i had hoped this subcommittee would be just as vigorous when it comes to the trump administration. not yet. finally i want to note i'm disappointed that the trump administration decided not to send a a witness from the state department for this hearing. the state department plays a critical role in the visa process, and our subcommittee would have benefitted from that testimony. >> thank you, senator durbin. i would have to acknowledge to your longstanding efforts in this regard. even though you and i have some differences on what's attainable and what's not. i've come to the conclusion that a comprehensive immigration reform bill is not possible. and i know that is disappointing
to you and some others. unfortunately, we've had our philosophy has been we want everything or we want nothing. and we end up getting nothing in my view, so i'm happy to try to work with you where we can to try to address some of the issues that you've addressed. while there's a lot of other topics we can talk about on the subcommittee, i think this is certainly worthwhile. at this point, chairman grassley, chairman of the full committee has asked that his full statement be included in the record and it will be done so. without objection. if i could ask the witnesses please to stand and i'll administrator the oath. [ witnesses are sworn ] >> please have a seat.
>> what we'd like to do mr. dougherty is start with you and go down to line to mr. wagger in, mr. rody and mr. roth. if would you give us your opening statement in about five minutes and i'm sure we'll have a lot of questions. >> thank you. chairman cornyn, ranking member durbin and distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear today, to discuss the work in progress at the department of homeland security, to identify report and address overstays. some 50 million nonimmigrant visitors enter the united states each year, they enter for business, to study, to see family, or to vacation here. the su states welcomes these visitors while recognizing it's imperative they depart the country when their visas or periods of authorized admission expires. our ability to identify foreign nationals who oversay their visa is important for numerous reasons. chief we need to determine whether or not individuals pose a threat to national security,
or to public safety. we need to protect the integrity of our immigration system by removing those who are present in violation of law. i've used my time to focus on the fiscal year 2016 entry/exit overstay report and steps we're taking to address the findings in the report. as you know, dhs released the fy 16 overstay report in may. it contains important data not available in the fy 15 version. the 15 report covered priusa program travelers for business or pleasure. the 16 report has been expanded to include foreign students, exchange visitors and other classes of nonimmigrants. our ability to add these classes to the analysis is the result of investments made by the department to expand its analytical capabilities. reflecting that the 99% of
visitors departed the united states on time. despite the high level of compliance by visitors to our country, an unacceptable number of individuals overstayed their visas or periods of authorized stay. 39,000 of them were calculated to have overstayed by the end of fiscal year 2016. we ran those numbers again in july. by our calculations, 426,000 of those nonimmigrant visitors are still here in an unlawful status. clearly, overstays are a significant problem. to get a better understanding of the challenge presented by overstays, the dhs has to continue to make improvements to its i.t. infrastructure. and to is architecture so that agents and other arthors have rapid access to the highest quality data available. dhs has undertaken a number of systems enhancements to reinforce immigration and overstay enforcement by aligning requirements across our systems, to support the exchange.
and operational use of immigration and traveler data. we've also been working on identifying national security overstays through increased collaboration through the intelligence community and we're automating processes that are currently done by hand. dhs is addressing areas for improvement identified by the office of inspector general in his recent report. in particular, the dhs office of the chief iminformation office certificate building an enterprise information-sharing platform that will be able to mitigate the issues identified in the oig report. it will provide analysts and mission operators with near real-time access to consolidated homeland security data, in classified and unclassified environments in a manner that is consistent with law, policy and privacy requirements. dhs has to implement the biometric exit to increase the quality of overstay data. while implementation of a
robust, efficient biomet rick exit solution will take time and pose significant technical and physical challenges, dhs is identifying or advancing the development of a comprehensive biometric exit system for air, land and sea. this conforms with long-standing congressional intent and is a priority for the administration as well. dhs also acknowledges and appreciates the support that congress has given it and that this committee has given it in favor of implementing that system. as stated in the president's executive orders, the need to enhance vetting and screening to identify individuals who seek to enter the united states on a fraud yent basis is a priority. as is those who violate the terms of their visa. dhs will continue working hard with its partner agencies, flarly with the department of state to address the problem presented by overstays.
dhs will seek out solutions and work with governments of countries whose travelers overstay at high rates. because they need to be held accountable as partner countries. chairman cornyn, ranking member durbin, distinguished members of the committee, subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to testify today on this important issue and i look forward to your questions. >> mr. doherty. you're the assistant secretary for border and trade policy at the department of homeland security. no stranger though committee, having served as legislative council for senator john kyle of arizona. let me just briefly also introduce our other members, inspector general of the department of homeland security john roth. confirmed in march 6, 2014. who served most recently as the director of the office 6 of criminal investigations at the fda ood and drug administrationd
was nominated to lead the dhs inspector general by president obama. mr. wagner is the deputy executive assistant commissioner of field operations of u.s. customs and border protection, since 2014. and he's been assigned to the u.s. customs and border protection at headquarters in dc since 1999, has worked on numerous policy issues, and mr. rodi is the deputy assistant director of homeland security investigations. within the national security investigations division and homeland security investigations and we appreciate again all of you being here present. let me turn to you, mr. wagner, for your opening statement. >> chairman cornyn, durbin and distinguished members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to discuss border protection work on biomet rick exit and overstay report. let me start with the overstay report. it accounts for 96% of all air
and sea nonimmigrant admissions for fiscal 2016. we've expand the the report to include additional categories of visitors, foreign students, exchange visitors and certain worker classifications. last fiscal year there were approximately 50.4 million in-scope nonimmigrant admissions who were expected to depart. of this, we calculate the total overstay rate at 1.47%. which is about 739,000 individuals. at the end of the fiscal year, there remained about 628,000 of these visitors still in the u.s. due to continuing departures, that number is currently 425,000 today. which is about .84% of the total. these figures are generated using cvp's arrival and departure system. we use our travel data and commercial carrier manifest to identify potential overstays. the data is correlated against other dhs systems to eliminate individuals who have received
extensions or adjusted status and remain lawfully in the u.s. the overstay list are run through our automated targeting system which applies i.c.e.-defined criteria to prioritize these records and the information is provided to ice daily. additional aiding biometrics to this process will provide greater validation of the data. this committee is familiar with the many challenges we've discussed in developing a feasible, biometric exit solution. as well as the many pilots we've conducted over the years. i recognize your frustration with our pace at this i also recognize that congress has made up to $1 billion available over the next decade to support funding and implement this program. as i've said, we're out of time and excuses. so the good news is we figured out a feasible solution. we've had extensive discussions with private sector technology experts. and stakeholders to insure our solution is easy for travelers and avoids adding another
independent stovepiped process. it utilizes existing airport infrastructure, and can be compatible with existing airline business practices. most importantly it uses data already provided to the u.s. government. biggest fact sr relying it too much on finding a single piece of technology that was magically going to solve this problem for us. in previous efforts never took a comprehensive look at reengineering the processes behind how our data systems function. swee figured out a way to better position the data we have on travelers which is photographs to make this inspection process a lot more efficient in nontechnical terms, we've moved the photographs we have of travelers from their passports and their visas in advance of the flight we move it out of the main database which contains about one billion photographs and stages it in a single database based on that manifest. by doing this, when the person goes to board the plane we can take their picture and only search the pictures on that
manifest, rather than against the billion photographs that reside in the database this makes it quick, simple and efficient. and you don't have to actually read the passport first to do this all the other systems around the world, you have to read the travel document first that adds time and infrastructure. and that adds complexity, we can skip it by doing this. we put it to test in atlanta with a flight with delta airlines, we prepositioned the photographs in the gallery. compared a live photograph of the person boarding to the traveler board the the plane and created a bay yoe metric of the departure. this validated the concept on how to use the data. we did not slow down the boarding of the plane and it fit with the boarding process in the operational model of how the airline boards their passengers this is easy for travelers to use. everybody knows how to take a picture. to date we've processed 35,000 travelers through this demonstration over the last 10, 11 months, we're at a matching rate of 96% to 98% of travelers
we have photographs on. we've had extensive discussions with the air travel industry, this summer we started rolling out additional demonstrations of this capability. in addition to the delta flight in atlanta, we have a single flight we're using this on at dulles, chicago and shousten, with a additional locations to come this summer and jetblue in boston, for this same process and purposes of replacing the paper boarding pass with the same picture-taking of the person confirmed by us. we're working with delta airlines on similar issues. so there's a great opportunity here for us not only to complete the biometric exit requirement and to support airline and airport modernization efforts so we're all aligned in a single vision. my final point is while facial recognition will be used, we will continue to collect fingerprints from foreign nationals upon initial encounters, both biometrics will
be fused and the fingerprint results are returned by matching the photo associated with them. we're getting the same vetting results, a different pointer and a quicker pointer to the same data. thank you and look forward to your questions. >> chairman cornyn, ranking member durbin and distinguished members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to talk to you today on how i.c.e. homeland security investigations or hsi investigate visa-over-stays and to highlight the improvements we've implemented in overstay enforcement. our counterterrorism and criminal exploitation unit focuses on identifying and enforcing efforts on overstays and who may pose a concern to national security or public safety. on a daily basis hsi injests prokly 3,000 potential overstay leads. arrival and departure until system, hsi's student exchange
visitor information system and other referrals on foreign national who is may have overstayed or violated the temperatures of their admission to the u.s. the leads received undergo both an automated and manual vetting process as based on prioritized risk-based framework. ctcu creates lead packages that include all available information which are sent to hsi field offices nationwide for further investigation. ctcu's vetting process is designed to detect and identify individuals exhibiting specific risk factors based on intelligence reporting, travel patterns and in-depth criminal research and analysis. to further support this process, hsi chairs the compliance enforcement advisory panel or ceap, who exist ctcu in maintaining targeting efforts with the most current information. the caep meets and updates
ctcu's targeting frameworks on overstays and status violators who pose the greatest concern to security. in fiscal year 16 hsi reviewed approximately 1.2 million unvalidated overstay leads. numerous leads were closed through the vetting process, due to subsequent departures from the united states, a change in status and/or pending immigration benefits. those leads that did not meet hsi's threat criteria referred to i.c.e.'s removal operations of the fiscal year 2016 overstay leads, 1400 were sent to the i.c.e. office for further investigation. as of those leads, hsi special agents had made 1622 arrests. those subjects who cannot be located or cycled back into continuous monitoring as new information is revealed. i would like to state that the woo sent out 1,000 more leads this fiscal year than were sent
out in the entire fiscal year 2016. we at hsi are committed to always improving and advancing our capabilities as technology progresses and as resources allow. overstay enforcement is no exception. i'd like to take a moment to highlight two recent pilot programs in overstay enforcement and efforts to improve our i.t. systems and capabilities. first our overstay life cycle pilot is an effort to insure continuous vetting we started tracking nonimmigrant visitors who filed visa applications at certain posts from the time they applied through their departure from the united states. this continuous review, allows hsi to take swift action should information be uncould have covered as any point in the visa life cycle. hsi implemented a program to identify nonimmigrant students who enter the united states and subsequently transfer to a
sensitive academic field or who attempt to work in areas posing a concern to national security or public safety. in addition, hsi has been an integral partner in improving the data interfaces between dhs systems to refine our ability to identify overstays. through modernization through lead track and cevis we are expediting overstay vetting. a number of initiatives at dhs are streamlining and enhancing systems to provide person-centric, rather than event-specific data. before concluding, let me emphasize how seriously we take the recommendations from reviews. when the latest oig report came out, immediate action was taken in response to concerns raised about field training and overstay investigations. this ctcu overstay handbook and guidance were redistributed to all hsi field offices and agents. this handbook provides detailed instructions on how to conduct overstay investigations. including what systems to check.
further, hsi has reinvigorated regional training efforts to insure that all agents and officers are equipped to effectively and efficiently investigate these leads. three more are scheduled for this fiscal year, thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain hsi's critical role in the overstay enforcement process, i'm happy to answer questions. >> chairman cornyn, ranking member durbin and members of the subcommittee. thank you for inviting me here today to discuss our work with regarding the vaesa overstays, including most recent audit report. the result of our audit revealed that the dh s's information technology systems do not effectively support i.c.e.'s trackinging operations. first, identifying and investigating potential visa overstays pulling data. some of which do not electrically share information
this necessary because four different dhs components, i.c.e., cvp, uscis and the international programs director as well as numerous entities outside dhs are involved in the managing the overstay issue. much of the data is not stored in easily retrievable fields, as an illustration of the disjointed nature, i.c.e. investigators need to retain up to 40 different passwords, each with different access restrictions and expiration dates. access to real-time system data is hampered by restrictions, i.c.e. personnel are unable to gain access to uscis systems, despite having a need to do so, some data is retained in paper-based files, which can take considerable time to access and some systems are not fraektly fraekt frequently updated. i.c.e. personnel did not have the training they needed to identify the numerous systems used for visa overstay tracking.
i.c.e. personnel in the field are not always sure which systems to use to perform their specific job functions. personnel we met with at multiple locations expressed concerns that they were unaware of the systems available to them, across dhs components and agencies, potentially limited their effectiveness in carrying out their visa tracking responsibilities. lastly, in the absence of a comprehensive biometric exit system at u.s. ports, dhs relies on third-party doots, passenger lists from airlines which is not always accurate and fails to capture land departure data which accounts for the vast majority of visitors leaving the united states. these deficiencies have a significant impact, including a backlog of 1.2 million visa overstay cases. an inability to make with any degree of confidence the number of individuals who are overstaying which results in a poor understanding of the problem and incomplete reporting. considerable resources are wasted investigating thousands of leads that could have been
ruled as not leads, such as individuals who already left the country or received immigration benefits. we in fact found that hsi agents spent 40% of the caseload in investigating individuals that they should not be investigating. largely because they were in compliance with the law or had already left the country. part of the problems the department has historically done a poor job of requiring i.t. integration which results in a fragmented system. the dhs chief information officer should provide greater oversight and centralized management of dhsi. systems, this is is an issue which we have repeatedly reported on. the ice chief information officer must provide adequate training and guidance to personnel in the field about how to properly use the current data systems. finally cvp must work on moving forward on the biometric entry and exit system to streamline i.c.e.'s efforts. we made five recommendations in
our audit report can we believe will assist in making the process more efficient. pleased to report that the department has agreed with each of our recommendations and is implementing corrective action, we will monitor the progress of the department and make reports as needed. additionally we intend to audit the department's effort to implement the department pie yoe metric exit program you heard described today. i'll be happy to answer any questions you or members of the committee may have. >> i'll start out with the five-minute rounds questions, but i wonder if anybody can give me their best estimate of how many people are currently in the country, overstaying their visa in violation of our immigration laws. can we, can anybody come up with a round number? estimate? >> sir, i hazard that the 40% rate that senator durbin
referenced earlier. it's one that we've mentioned for a long period of time. >> thank you, mr. dougherty, i know the 40%, i'm wondering, 40% is what is what i'm trying to get my head around. and mr. wagner, isn't it true that some of the statistics that we've been talking about that are contained in your written testimony and elsewhere. this is for land and seaport, correct? we don't have really reliable figures for land port of entry or exit, do we? >> correct. it's for commercial air and sea arrivals. but most of your land entry and exits are populations that are out of scope of the collection of biometrics. actually small fraction of the in-scope population we would even track on biometric exit. >> i appreciate the good work that you've been able to do. and the good news frankly in terms of airports and seaports. to me that seems like a huge gaping hole in our data, that's what happens at landports and frankly, coming from a state with 1200 miles of common
border, about five million jobs depending on binational trade with mexico we want to make sure that we continue to have legitimate commerce and travel between our countries. because it's good for both of our economies. but we've got to come up with perhaps some of these technology solutions you're working on, whether it's facial recognition, that will help us identify people as they leave the country and enter the country, so that we have a reliable, reliable figures, and i know that that's something that you continue to work on. but frankly in the years i've been here in the senate, since we've been talking about the implementation of the u.s. visit program. this has already been a matter of policy. by the united states government. but we've never quite seemed to get the solution where it needs to be. so just to put some more meat on the bone here.
there are about 50 some odd million visitors to the country every year. and about eight million of those to best of my estimate are coming in across landports of entry. and so that gives us some idea of the hole in our data in terms of the overall scope of the problem. i'm aware that some countries, when students come study for example in their countries, they require the student to produce evidence of financial support so they don't become a burden on the host country. they may even require them to produce a health insurance. to demonstrate that they won't be a burden again on the health care system of the host country and they'll require them to check in on a periodic basis to make sure they maintain their current status. that is legitimate visitor. what things do we do in the united states or what things might we do, to help address
this problem. because my sense is, we really don't do it unless somebody commits a crime. and comes in contact in the criminal justice system. that's probably the only time we catch people who overstay their visa. and even there, we have spotty cooperation. everybody is familiar with the idea of sanctuary cities, some locations decide they're not going to cooperate with federal law enforcement. so i'd be interested to hear from you, what mechanisms do we need to put in place. how about more frequent check-ins in the united states that are for visas, for longer than six months would that help? >> sir, there was some press recently about the department of homeland security looking at the potential to determine whether or not students need to be checked every year, to make sure that they are in status. in other words, they are in fact
attending classes and they are sort of remaining in that student status. as you know from the numbers that are in the back of the report for the f visas, for the student visas, the noncompliance is markedly rather high. so that is, that's a thing that's being considered by the department, it is not a policy at this point. no decisions have been made. the ability of the department to keep track of folks without impeding trade and travel and as you know, the overwhelming number of people coming here are leaving on time. if we can do more to cover that gap in our capability, of knowing where people are, we'll take reasonable looks at that, pu we want to also be conscious of people's privacy concerns. and also we want to be conscious of what the cost would be and how it might inhibit our travel and trade. >> and i do agree with senator durbin that the idea of visa
waiver countries is another whole issue. but in order to comply with the visa waiver program they have to have a very low rate of overstays. is my understanding. as part of that criteria by which those countries qualify. but it is a vulnerability. senator durbin? >> thanks, mr. chairman. mr. dougherty if you're going to check on student visas, is it not a requirement of the students on visa to notify our government if they change address? >> sir, my understanding is under the process, it's the requirement of the school that you're attending, that there's a officer who is responsible for notifying dhs that you're still in status. >> i'm asking about change of address, change of residence or change of address? >> i apologize, sir, i don't know the answer. >> i think it may be a requirement. when i think back on all the flop house apartments i stayed in and moved in and out of, there could be a technical violation.
of a real student and i guess that's a concern i have going in. >> i understand, sir and i think that's one of the things that as i said earlier, all these systems need to be pragmatic, they need to reflect reality. students move around, students are young when you think about overstays, they may not take the thing as seriously as other people might. you want a system that's one that is easy to use. the immigration system initially i think is supposed to be that kind of system. >> i guess what i'm asking you, easy is maybe the word. i'm looking for one that's sensible that really, if you're a student who just didn't notify the fact that my landlord evicted me and now i have to move to a new place and i didn't send the notice in on time. that i hope that a technical violation like that wouldn't end your student visa. what about this whole aspect of visa waiver countries, 38 countries with, if you just hold the passport can you come into the united states for up to 90
days. without going through getting a visa, to do so. and i think someone came up with the number of 140,000 overstays among those. i don't know if that number is right, mr. wagner, did you mention that earlier? >> about 147,000. >> 147,000. that's a group of 20,000, visa waiver program visitors, 20 million visa waiver program visitors each year to the united states. and another 30 million coming in with visas for a variety of different reasons and you think the overstay right there is closer to 739,000? is that out of the 30 million? >> 739,000 includes both categories, the visa holders and the visa waiver. the visa waiver rate is lower than the visa holders, overall. >> we're talking 50 million visitors, some of with visas, some without. making sure they leave when they said they were going to. when they're supposed to. that's really our challenge, right? and we're trying to find i think
mr. roth i want to turn to you now, you took a look at our efforts. talking about how we're going to track these folks and make sure they leave when they're supposed to? >> that's correct. the buy wroe metric exit requirement had been in law for quite some time. but again we're still in the pilot phase process. >> how long have we been in the pilot phase? >> senator tillis says since kitty hawk. how long have we been at this? >> it is a requirement by law, but i don't, on the top of my head, i can't remember when that law was enacted. i will have to say it was a department responsibility, only recently has it become a cvp responsibility. our perception is that cvp is moving forward expeditiously, we're going to be auditing what their pilot program looks like, we'll be able to report back exactly whether or not we have forward momentum. >> the u.s. visit law passed in
1996, it's been a matter of u.s. policy since then. >> we're still working on it. let me ask you this, mr. roth. i want to go back to president trump's executive orders on travel. which is controversial. senator duckworth and i sent the dhs office of inspector general a letter requesting independent investigation into the implementation by dhs president trump's executive order. the inspector general subsequently opened an investigation, can you tell me the status? >> sure. we're doing with most of our field work, in other words gathering documents and conducting interviews, we're in the process of drafting a report. my best guess again, not a promise, it's an estimate that we'll have that out by september. >> good. i want to see where that might go and it was initially created to give the administration 90 days to establish extreme vetting for certain nations.
i think we're in the sixth month now since the initial designation of seven countries, i it will be interesting to see what did happen. is there any, can i ask, any of you if you have any thoughts about biometric requirement on visa waiver visitors? understanding that whatever requirement we put on visa waiver countries. they're likely to put on us. understandable so if i have to have my picture taken, mr. wagner, you were explaining that process, is this feasible? recommended, to have those in the visa waiver program submit some biometric information before they arrive in this country? >> i think as we build out this facial recognition capability, that's one of the things we're going to take under consideration. and see what usability or utility there could be. its going to be unconfirmed information because we're receiving it directly from a
person. you know there's some value of what can you do with it to rae affirm later on that that's the same person you granted that authorization to. so i, let us work on it a little bit. as we build out the biometric exit facial recognition capability. i think we'll find out how we can implement that. >> i worry that you might put it in a profile. thank you. thanks to all of you. >> senator tillis? >> thank you, mr. chair. gentlemen, thank you for being here. senator durbin touched on some points that i have, happen to agree with in terms of other aspects of immigration that i won't bring up here. we've got a little bit of a hairball here in terms of our visibility. we've got serious issues with h 1 b, h 2 b that could go down the list. about how it come in and fill
jobs and they're shutting down industries. that's not the subject. it does speak to the broader issue of coming up with a modernized predictable overall visa system. now i think mr. dougherty, this may be a question for you. has methodology changed for articulating visa overstays between fy 15 and fy 16? >> i think it got a little more sophisticated in the sense that we were able to draw in additional data sets. >> more accurate or just more sophisticated? >> i think when we're able to get more, we're trying to look at the entire population that's coming at us, whatever their visa status, which is why at the end of the day, if we got our biometric pilot finished, we would be at a place where we would see the land entries and exits as well. it's fairly new for the
department to have the capability. we haven't issued one of these reports in 20 years, it was done last year and it was done again this year. so the intention is to get a full view. the methodology remains very manual and hard to do. it's a lot of work to produce these numbers, we want to get past that. >> of the 426,000 number that you all mentioned, are those in-country overstays? i think you gave that estimate that the 2017 estimate, was it 426,000, did i hear you say that in your opening testimony. in response to one of your questions? >> i believe that was in my opening statement. >> those are in-country overstays? >> that is the aps. >> can you describe the difference between in-country and out of country overstays? >> when you're a an out of country overstay, you're somebody who was supposed to have left at a particular time. you didn't, about then you left. and in-country overstays is you
were supposed to have left. and you depart leave, you're still here. >> mr. wagner, the discussion about the wall i happen to be in the camp that thinks it's not a good idea to say we don't need borders, we need bridges, because there's a homeland security threat that needs to be dealt with. i'm also not in the camp that says we need a structure that goes to the pacific to the gulf of mexico that can be seen if outer space. mainly because many of your colleagues have said that would not be the best way to secure the border and provide for their own personal security. the border patrol agents down there. this is more of a statement, i have a related question, it seems to me when we're talking about the people, technology and infrastructure to secure a border, a lot of that technology and infrastructure could be directed towards the land, the land ports where people are coming in and stepping up resources and capabilities in those borders.
do you believe, are you one of the people who think we ought to be able to view a wall from the outer space? or do you think the monday i would be better spent to secure the border and know who's here, maybe through the use of ptf? >> what i will say is we're working on the same facial recognition plan for the land border as well to look at arrivals and departures and a similar approach. >> do you agree that's part and parcel of securing the board centre we have a better, more accurate picture of who's coming across the border, who's not leaving when they're supposed to? >> yes. >> the airlines, a year or two ago, i heard from a number of the airlines, at least at the time, they were concerned with the disruption and the terminals, a number of international flights are co-mingled with domestic flights and they were trying to get their head around how they could do this without it be an
unfunded mandate on their part. is this pilot getting you to a point it sounds like you are doing things to make it easier for boarding. are you getting a sense that the airlines are coming closer to embracing some strategies that you're testing? >> i think that's it. we tried to build a process that could easily complement what the airlines are also doing. like we saw with jetblue wanting to automate the boarding pass, using facial recognition. why don't we combine our efforts and take just one picture of the person. the airline tells house is expected on the flight we got the photos. just search against that. we confirm that, confirm biometric exit at the same time. that the person boards and they check off on their system what's seated you as the travelers don't have to go through a multiple gauntlet of processes to do this. >> that makes a lot of sense. hopefully we'll see a pilot in charlotte sometime soon. thank you, mr. chair.
>> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you for holding this hearing. which addresses a critically important topic. for our whole nation. seshl for anyocertainly for any thinking about how to improve our immigration system. i take it all of you would agree with me that the lack of a biometric exit system is a gaping hole. a really deepening threat to our national security. >> if coy venture an answer to that. which is a little bit off the bubble. but i would like to express that we talked about comprehensive immigration reform as we moved into the hearing. one of the things that makes it very difficult to really do anything, including to be feel good about your national security is knowing who has come and who's left. without those two things you cannot have a guest worker program that is viable.
you have great difficulty in being open to foreign nationals who want to come here to study or just enjoy the country in terms of the security dimension of it as well. it does constitute a problem. if you can't count people in and you can't count them out, you don't have integrity in your system. >> i'm going to count that as a yes. >> yes, sir. >> and say further, that we can pass all the great laws in the world but if we don't know who's coming into the country and who's leaving, they're all for naught. correct in. >> you're shaking your head, let the record show that indicates agreement. let me just go on, the number as i read your testimony, the number of overstays went from 739,000, individuals, to 425,495
individuals. as between 2016 and 2017, is that correct? >> yes, sir, that's correct. >> what accounts for that drop? >> people leave, the way that the information is put together for this report is that the bias is in favor of assuming the person is still here unlawfully. unless we know better. >> when you say people leave, and i apologize for interrupting you, because i have limited time. say people leave, what is the reason that they leave at a greater rate in 2017 versus 2016? is it something you're doing? or is it -- >> i think it's climate change, whatever. >> i think they just go. this report concluded in fy 16. so since, if you go around the clock and around the calendar until today, until july, those are the folks that remain of the people who were expected to
leave the country. we expected 700,000 to go. in '16 because that's how long they were entitled to remain. then we come around to this point of time in the year, july 1st, that's how many actually have remained past the time that the report terminated. >> so that is an explanation of the numbers. but not an explanation of the reduced rate of overstay, i'm wondering whether it is because because people who were overstayers, somehow are fearful they'll be apprehended or -- whether there is a deterrent impact of all this talk about abuse of a system or whether it's just there's some kind of statistical quirk. and maybe pressing you on it now, you can get back to us. the other area that i want to
explore is i note the overstay rate is greater for, for the visa waiver program. correct? >> and why is that? >> i think that many of the countries that are within the visa waiver program. as you know they have to meet certain standards of information-sharing. they also have to have a low, nonimmigrant refusal rate. excuse me, nonimmigrant refusal rate. country x came to you, foreign nationals wanted to come to the united states. 25% of them, you said no, then that is a metric that comes out of the consulate, experience. and so we basically don't allow those people into the vwp. so countries whose nationals are
essentially compliant, are the types of people make visa waiver partners. >> they tend to be more reliable in terms of staying only as long as they have a visa? >> that's correct, sir, yes, sir. >> and forgive me if there's an obvious answer to this question. we have these numbers on how many people have overstayed. do you also have numbers, maybe i missed them in your report, on how long those overstays are as a median or an average. the couple of days, weeks, years. you have any numbers that reflect the severity of their overstay? >> i don't believe we've chopped the data that way, we'd be happy to brief you on it. if we have those -- >> here's another, you have the numbers on people who have overstayed. those are just numbers, not
identities, you also have a list of those people, in other words, in the computer that produces these numbers, do you also have names, dates of arrival. and apparent nondepartures and last known address and all of that information. >> i believe that that's true, but i would have to validate that, sir. >> could you check that? because otherwise i don't know how you would know what the numbers are. you must know, specific individuals who have not left and that's the way the numbers are built. i'm just reeling from common sense. >> that would have to be correct. whether or not we maintain a list is a question that i don't have an answer to at this time. >> and finally if you would give me just another question, mr. chairman. in your, in your testimony, you
make reference to overstay enforcement and you say prioritize violators i'm quoting who may pose a national security or public safety risk. end of quote, i can imagine what those factors might be. perhaps could you tell us who they are and what they are and i hate to ask a question that may have an obvious answer. if you know their risk now, why were they allowed into the country? i. >> i would defer to hsi for answering on those enforcement questions for the interior. >> sir, we have an internal prioritization scheme that we use to prioritize potential national security concerns. and/or concerns for national security as well as concerns for public safety. it doesn't mean that the person
is necessarily a threat. but buy our own internal prioritization scheme as we look at the whole list of overstays or potential overstays that we receive, we have to, because we have limited resources, we have to come up with a prioritization scheme, as to who may pose those type of risks for us. is we have a sliding scale of what we consider to be a concern. i don't want to use the word "threat" because we don't know if they're a threat until we do the investigation. those leads are then subsequently scrubbed through our system, through an automated process and then it goes into a manual process. where you determine whether or not a person meets that criteria and a lead is generated for further investigation by the field. >> understand you don't want to use the word "risk or" "threat" you would rather use the word concern. but mr. dougherty uses the word "risk" in his testimony. so i take it that is a little bit more than a concern. and if you could provide us,
because i don't want to take more time, i'm already way above my time and the chairman has been very gracious as he always is. if could you get back to us an analysis of what, of how you determine what the concern or the risk is. but the factors are, what the criteria, how you a i ply them. you may have done them already in your testimony. i apologize that i haven't seen it. >> yes, sir, absolutely. we can get back to you with that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentlemen, if i can ask for your help to summarize? >> what i think we've heard so far. roughly 739,000 visa overstays from land and seaports. but no record of visa overstays from land-based ports of entry. where approximately eight million people have come into the country over a year's time. so let's say 739,000 land and
seaports. we know that the 9/11 attack, five of the 19 hijackers were visa overstays. just so we can understand how do you identify those 739,000 people to senator blumenthal's point? and what do we need to do in order to make sure that we're enforcing the terms of their visa? and entry into the country? and exit on a timely basis? my impression, mr. roddy, maybe you're the one to take this question, is it we won't do that unless they let's say for example commit an offense and get arrested. that would be one way to identify yourself as a visa overstay, right? >> sir i'm very glad you asked
that question. one of the things that we're doing to address that very issue is linking the vetting programs that we have both on the front end through our visa security program and on the back end, through our, overstay vetting program. by linking the two programs today in an overarching life cycle program, we're looking to at the front end when the person is vetted when they apply for a visa, if they make it through that vetting and subsequently enter the united states, we are continuously vetting them while they're here visiting and then if they potentially become an overstay -- >> how would you do that? >> through our various database systems as well as social media. they will be continuously vetted through their entire visit here, and then if they skrently become an overstay, we'll be ahead of the game. we'll know about them in advance. that's a process that we've implemented in a pilot basis at two visa issuing locations, we intend in the future to expand that program to other visa issuing posts as well.
that's the with wave of tave of and a better way for us to track it. >> i don't want to minimize what you said. it's important and we need to recognize progress. but at the same time we need to understand what the numbers mean. that wouldn't include visa waiver? >> that's for people who applied for a visa at a consulate overseas before they come to the united states. it's good that you are taking steps to monitor them. what would cause them to be removed from the united states. what would you have to see in this monitoring program to remove them? >> it if there's derogatory information developed as a result of their time in the united states we would send out a lead as a priority one. something that would make that person removable. there would have to be derogatory information that would indicate that the person is a definite threat to the u.s. or has committed some sort of
crime while they're here visiting. absent that, though, there's only information, the intention of a person overstay for example in our pilot we have people talking social media say finally i'm here, i'm not going back. i intend to get a job, i intend to stay. now we have an indicator, we can't take action on that simply because the person is talking about that they intend to never leave the united states. at least they're on our radar. when they do violate their terms of admission, we can take action. >> isn't it more likely than not that if someone will not come to the attention of immigration authorities unless they are arrested for and charged with a crime? is that the most common way that they're identified? >> that's the most common way, yes. >> if you get a visa from some other country and you come to the united states you overstay your visa as long as you don't
commit a crime. chances are, you're going to be able to melt into the great american landscape and stay, is that a fair statement, mr. roth? >> look at the numbers that are involved, i.c.e. has limited resources, for example, there are 10,000 referrals made to i.c.e. investigators around the country and what we found was 40% of the 10,000 were actually not overstays at all. either they had already left the country or had gotten some sort of immigration benefit and we're down to a universe of 6,000 cases per year even assuming that you're successful of every one of the 6,000 cases when you compare them against the 145,000 actual overstays a year, it will be a tiny fraction of the people who get some sort of enforcement action against them. this is something they think is important because when most people hear about the discussions of local municipalities and cities not cooperating and not recognizing
detainers from i.c.e. to hold somebody who is here illegally in the united states, and when they choose not to cooperate as a, quote, sanctuary city, that is an impediment to enforcing our immigration laws. i think people sometimes are confused about what that really means and this facilitates people who overstay our their visas in violation of our laws and who are able to escape removal when the term of the visa expires. mr. wagner? >> senator, if i can add a couple of points which i think will clarify both of your questions. so all of the arrivals, land, sea and air go into our arrival departure information system. with that, we also capture their authorized period of admission. so there is a ticker on their file that when that period of admission is up, we have the expected departures folder. at that point in time they're
now marked as an overstay, if we don't have a departure record. the only departure records we consistently will have are the commercial air and sea carriers which provided to us. so if we do not have that departure record, they go into the -- we suspect they're still in-country as an overstay. we run into target and analysis provided to i.c.e. every day. if that person did does depart the united states and we get a confirmed departure now we mark that off in the system and they into the out of country overstay box. we cancel the esta for visa waiver travel and we can potentially work with the state to cancel the visa and they're subject to a bar for re-entry and that person has left the country. all throughout that process, our national targeting center also takes the entire visa database from the department of state and all of the authorizations that we issue for visa waiver travel
through the esta program and we run continuous vetting on this. so if there's any new national security information, the name's added to a watch list and that comes in and we run it against these visas and estas every day. so if we get a hit or a match on one of those records, the first thing we look at is that person still in the country or do we think they're out of the country and we follow up with i.c.e. or fbi and law enforcement to take appropriate action or any national security risk will take it and that goes on con tin wti and we'll have thousands of visas revoked and it's not a one-time vetting and you're approved and then there's no monitoring of your approval to travel here and visit here. >> thank you for that clarification. i'll turn to senator flake here in a moment, but one last point.
i appreciate what you've told us about monitoring, the overstays and so the federal government's got a record of the people who entered and landed at sea ports and who have overstayed their visa, but how many people who have overstayed their visa are actually physically removed for that reason on an annual basis, would you say, mr. roddy? >> just for a visa overstay alone? >> the statistics that are provided for my sister component enforcement removal operations does track the number of overstays, but the numbers can be skewed because it may not just be reporting on the overstay violation itself. so if the person was picked up for another charge, for example, it happened to be an overstay and it would be included in that number. i would have to flip through my materials to find you an exact number, but the number isn't very large when it's statistically speaking for
simply being an overstay. >> and that's actually my point is while we do a pretty good job, it sounds like a tracking overstays we don't actually do a very good job of identifying people who have overstayed their visa unless they've committed a creme or otherwise come to the attention of law enforcement authorities. that's not your fault. that's a lack of political will on the part of policymakers and resources being provided to those of you who are working in the field. senator flight? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks for holding the hearing. thank you for your testimony and i'm sorry to come late, and i hope i'm not plowing any old round here, but mr. duarte, at a recent house hearing you mentioned that the government needs to do, quote, a better -- needs a better means of communicating with people, referencing the idea to notify those who are on immigrant visas
that the time was about to expire and we pushed for this in the past with the 744 bill. i think it's a common-sense approach to alleviate some of the overstay issues that we're facing today, but what is a current process of tracking non-immigrants in the united states, keeping tabs when they travel within this united states and provide a notice that the time is about to expire? >> so we started providing notification to the visa travelers that have overstayed and let them know their authorization of travel under a visa waiver program is now canceled. >> what percentage of those? >> a small percent right now, but we started sending out those e-mail notifications. >> we stamped the passport and we have the admission date until. >> they can printout their i-94 form that has that information, but the number you're sending it to now, what is that based on?
when a visa waiver traveler stays beyond those 90 days, we are sending them an e-mail to notify them and we have now recorded you as being an overstay. later this year, we'll build out a system to give people about a 10-day warning to let them know, hey, in ten days you're expected to depart the u.s. >> and that's invest visa waiver trials. >> and they'll expand to and expand it to the visa holders, as well. >> okay. >> congress has debated the benefits of the entry and exit for years, with respect to foreign nationals, rather than keeping track of those leaving it. i know you toucheded on this a bit already, but i understand that some airlines in certain locations in atlanta and dulles are testing the capabilities
through facial recognition technologies, can you talk about that? >> we've launched a couple of sites in conjunction with the airlines, looking at how do we take a picture of a person boarding the plane and compare that against the gallery we pre-stage, and the airline provides us the manifest in advance of who will be on the plane and we'll retrieve the photographs we have from your passports and your visas and your arrival photographs and we stage them in the separate database. by doing so, it's a much smaller set of data we're searching against and the you can take your pictures aboard the plane and only search against 300 people and not against the billion photographs that we have access to. so this way we can get a very accurate and very quick response and confirm that that is the person that was listed on the manifest, the by on graphic data matches up, and all the vetting that we've done on that person and we've run the fingerprints and we've run the by on graphic
vetting on it and we know it's accurate and belongs to the person we expected it to. and president trump, january 22nd, the executive order called for an expedited completion of the by on metric entry and exit system. what is the estimated time for completion? >> the rest of the calendar year into the beginning of next year we'll be building out the platform to be able to do that at all of our commercial air locations. it will take us until early next year to be able to finish that. we've got to build the services to build the photos and we've got to buy the database stage to stage them and we'll be able to do the facial recognition algorithm comparison and look at the front-end deployment of the camera technology. where does it go at the airport? will the airlines work with us and will it be incorporated into boarding? i expect by early next year, we'll start to deploy this in a lot of the major airports.
>> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i'd like to correct the record earlier, when we were talking about the visa overstay numbers just to make clear that the 739,000 overstays we've been talking about are land and sea port -- excuse me, air and sea port, understand lant ports and just for the record, let me just ask one other question and i'll turn to senator blumenthal and the senator has another question. as a member of the senate intelligence committee, i'm aware that foreign countries are continuing -- continually try to penetrate the national security measures in order to gain espionage on the united states and should of that could well include foreign students and other foreign nationals who come to the united states wo aho ari already recruited by the spy agencies and already here, and once they're here in the united
states and stay and spy on our country. is this a potential vulnerability? >> yes, sir, that is. that's one of the reasons we started our domestic mantis program. one of the vulnerabilities that was identified in the gao report many years ago suggested that students could come here to study a non-sensitive field of study and change their major to something more sensitive and there was a loophole in the system for them to do that and we created semantics to track that, and thus far, we've identified several hundred people. i don't have the exact stats with me that have actually used that process and as a result of whittling it down, we're looking at people that are studying higher education and that kind of thing and we've come out with 11 leads that have been sent to
the field with further investigation because we are serious about that, and take that to be a serious problem, and potential problem and the fact that someone can come here to study english as a second language and subsequently change their major down the road to nuclear engineering, for example, and then learn that ability and that potentially could become a deemed export if the person goes back to the home country. we have a pilot that we've implemented in august and has proven to be successful. we found one person in particular that's under investigation that did just what i described. so, yes, a very serious problem for us and it's something that we are addressing. >> we have interfering on our elections and their activities they use to undermine public confidence in our institutions, but this is a vulnerability that we also need to be paying attention to. i appreciate.
senator blumenthal. >> i agree, mr. chairman, with what you just said. my question perhaps to mr. rodi, by the way, i should have thanked all of you for your service, and we've sound critical here, but it's not personal to you. as the chairman said, we recognize that you are working with limited resources and we are here to help you not to be critical, and thank you, mr. rodi, for your service in uniform as well as now and i note with interest that you're a graduate with southern connecticut state university. >> yes, sir. >> let me ask you, are detainers issued for all of the overstays? because the chairman implied that one of the reasons why
sanctuary cities may in his view pose a potential threat is why they're not enforcing detainers. i'm wondering those detainers don't apply to visa overstays and you don't issue a detainer for those 700,000-plus people who have overstayed? >> no, sir. the vase overstays that we would be investigating for the leads that we send out is one of those people that were conducting the investigation happens to be in custody somewhere, yes, we would send out a detainer notice so we could deal with them appropriately upon release, but the vast majority of the rest of the overstays that we're investigating are not in custody so we're not sending it out. >> in essence, if someone's been arrested for something else there would be a detainer, but
that is applicable to a tiny fraction of the overstays. >> for overstay investigations, yes. >> and i want to be sure that i understand because senator cornyn said that the overwhelming vast majority of overstays, i think i'm quoting him, melt into the great american landscape and that means in essence, they're good to go, good to stay, as long as they don't get into trouble and find themselves arrested for doing something else whether it's robbing a bank or going through a red light or something that brings them into court. is that roughly correct? well, sir, we only send out leads for those individuals that we deem to be a concern for us with the national security and public safety reasons and that
number is low in comparison to the overall overstay population. so, yes, those that do not meet our priorities, we do send those to those leads to ero, enforcement removal operations for further action and they have their own prioritization scheme and those leads are sent to the criminal analysis and targeting center that they maintain and they take those leads and prioritize on the investigative priorities, as well. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator blumenthal. i just have one question that builds on questions that senator blumenthal asks and i think that chairman cornyn expanded on. they, for the purposes of instructing us on things that we should do either in allocation of resources or additional authorities, and do we have an exhaustive and do we have the ability to the produce an exhaustive analysis that
involves demographics, and what i'm thinking of the base, let's use the 26,000 number. if you had an idea that there was an outlier, a consistent percentage of these people were of an age group or a certain visa status or -- any number of indicators that would let you use that as a basis for prioritizing things that we would do to provide additional support for your agencies. does that data exist to drive any sort of policy formulation? mr. doherty? >> the quality of the information that we have right now that's in these divergent databases. when they come together, when you have a platform that allows you to look at that. >> when? they don't now. we're talking perspective at some point in the -- >> my understanding from speaking with staff, sir, is we're actually looking good for
2018 to have these high-value data sets put together and your ability to look -- >> you've heard it a million times, can we get that view that's got everything that is about that particular person in one place or achievable, reachable as i'm on my computer, i can go out and i don't need to know 40 passwords. i just know that everything i care about is coming into this query. the intention is to try to get to that particular place. i may have already forgotten what your question was. >> well, i think it's -- right now it would be virtually impossible. back to the systems environment, and you've got a hair ball of systems that are disconnected. you've got to integrate and they'll consolidate them on the platform and find some method for consolidating the information so you can make sense out of it, but it would seem to me that information would be very valuable for us to then go in and say, if we can't
boil the ocean and get everything done at once, if we look at segments of the overstay population where there tend to be larger numbers, then you get to the root causes or other enforcement policies that would at least let you get to the larger ones first or maybe the easier ones or any number of ways that you would use it to prioritize how we can allocate additional resources and provide authority for other things you need to do if you have that kind of insight, but you don't have it, but we'll have it by 2018? >> i completely agree with you. if you can start to do different things with this data, you can make a lot of good policy choices and operational choices, as well. it could be that you need to engage in some type of information campaign or some type of enforcement activity that we don't know, and of course, on the policy side, the more you know about the numbers that you've got in front of you, as a former i.t. professional,
it informs and makes better choices. so the more information, the better we can cross-check it or to have different means of manipulating that data, the better we get policies and the better we are able to do legislation and we can make informed decisions about what it is we're looking at. >> thank you. >> mr. roth, just finally, in terms of -- in your assessment and the world that i was in we would summarize an assessment of the organization with a simple start/stop continue of the big issues. could you just briefly talk about things in your assessment that you all have determined or either stop it because it's not particularly helpful and not particularly effective and start it because it could have a positive impact and some practices are working well. can you give me just a brief
summary? >> i mean, sure. >> i mean, when you look at the by on metric exit system and the biometric pilot program that has been discussed here today. that's something that we'll take a very hard look at. we don't think that they can have the kind of data that they need to do the kinds of work that we discussed without it. so that's sort of a must-have system. it's not something you could stop. we worry, of course, being the professional skeptics that we are that dhs has historically done not a terrific job with i.t. integration across different databases. this is the curse of working at dhs is there are a number of disparate components. >> not necessarily a malady that dhs alone and government experiences. >> that's my understanding, as well, but certainly it is a challenge that we have that we continue to face. we'll be looking very, very hard at that. i guess what i would say is that we have to have these systems.
dhs has to have the kind of systems to make the kind of analysis that's appropriate, but we will take a hard look at these things and we'll report what we find. >> thank you very much. gentlemen, thank all of you for being here and senator cornyn had to step out for a 4:00 commitment. so i'll be closing out the hearing, and i appreciate your participation today. we will keep the record open for a period of one week if there are follow-up questions. on behalf of the members, i thank you all for your service and a particular thanks to the folks on the front lines doing their job. we appreciate it. this meeting is adjourned.
federal reserve chair janet yellen will be taking questions from the senate banking committee about the country's economy. c-span will have live coverage as she reviews the semiannual monetary policy report and the potential economic impact. that begins at 10:00 a.m. on c-span3 and also online on c-span.org or listen on the app. the national governor's association summer meeting in providence, rhode island. governors will discuss the opioid epidemic and prevention and treatment efforts.
live coverage begins at 4:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. >> sunday on q and a. >> in a country with an absolute monarchy, speaking about the distribution of wealth and about the corruption could get you in jail, could get you arrested and could get you in so much trouble. >> saudi arabian women's rights activist talks about her time in prison after the ban of women drivers. "daring to drive," a saudi woman's awakening. >> you never see a woman driving in the huge country the size of three texas. women can't drive. we wanted to change this by this movement and the movement is going on. it never stopped. we are still campaigning for the right to drive. for us, the right to drive is more act of civil disobedience because a woman is not supposed to drive. we show that we are able, we are
capable of driving our own life and being in the driver's seat of our own destiny by doing this act of civil disobedience. sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q & a. president trump's nominee to be the next fbi director had his confirmation hearing today. christopher wray answered a range of questions from the senate judiciary committee. members of that committee will take a vote, sending his nomination to the full senate for approval. it's about three hours.